The Trump administration is expected to tell five countries that it will impose sanctions on them unless they stop buying Iranian oil, according to the Associated Press. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly slated to make the announcement Monday.
The countries in question include ones the U.S. is often at odds with, like China, but also South Korea, Japan, Turkey, and India.
These countries were previously granted waivers which allowed them to buy oil from Iran without being sanctioned. Now, it seems that time is up. But the details of the new policy are still sketchy.
It was not immediately clear if any of the five would be given additional time to wind down their purchases or if they would be subject to U.S. sanctions on May 3 if they do not immediately halt imports of Iranian oil. [...]
The decision not to extend the waivers, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was finalized on Friday by President Donald Trump, according to the officials. They said it is intended to further ramp up pressure on Iran by strangling the revenue it gets from oil exports.
The administration granted eight oil sanctions waivers when it re-imposed sanctions on Iran after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. They were granted in part to give those countries more time to find alternate energy sources but also to prevent a shock to global oil markets from the sudden removal of Iranian crude.
U.S. officials are apparently now confident that ending Iranian oil exports will not significantly reduce global oil supply. This is due in part to an increase in exports from our good friends, journalist-murderers Saudi Arabia, and from the U.S. itself, thanks to fracking.
Three other countries—Italy, Greece, and Taiwan—have already stopped importing Iranian oil since the waivers were introduced.
The end of oil waivers is part of an increasingly aggressive policy towards Iran on the part of the Trump administration, which began with their withdrawal from the Obama-era nuclear deal. The administration is attempting to knock out the country’s revenue sources one by one, according to the New York Times.
There has also been talk of using military force against Iran. Pompeo has suggested this course of action through pushing an extremely questionable connection between Iran and Al Qaeda, who are on opposite sides of the Sunni-Shiite divide.
If the administration was to push for bombings or an invasion of Iran, it’s unlikely that Congress would vote to authorize it. This month, for the first time, Congress invoked the War Powers Act in an attempt to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen. Trump used his veto to strike that effort down.